Craft a delicious Chicken and Rice Casserole effortlessly with my simple recipe. Packed with tender chicken breast, assorted veggies, fluffy rice, and a lush, cheesy topping, it's a hearty meal that pairs wonderfully with salads or roasted veggies.
This classic casserole, creamy and full of flavor, is perfect for warming up your family dinners or celebrating with friends. It's versatile, too – you can stick to the traditional preparation or try any of the variations for a personalized touch.
Short on time? No worries. I've got a quick one-dish version that's just as tasty. Whether you want to savor the process or need a quick fix, this casserole is sure to comfort and satisfy. Let's dive in and create a dish that's sure to be a hit at any table!
More Cozy Chicken and Rice Creations:
- Chicken and Rice (one pot)
- Chicken and Rice Bake
- Hainanese Chicken Rice
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Chicken Biryani
Ingredients and Substitutions Overview
The ingredients you will need for making this Chicken and Rice Casserole are basic pantry staples. Let's examine them in detail below.
For Preparing the Chicken:
- Chicken Breast: The boneless chicken breast serves as the main protein in the dish. However, you can also use boneless chicken thighs for similar results
- Onion and Garlic Powder: These two seasonings contribute a savory and slightly pungent taste, enhancing the overall depth of flavor in the chicken
- Italian Seasoning: It creates a fragrant and herby essence to the chicken
- Paprika: Imparts a mild heat and a subtle smokiness, while also adding a touch of color to the dish
- Black Pepper and Salt: Black pepper provides a gentle spiciness, and salt balances and amplifies the other flavors, ensuring a well-seasoned chicken
- Oil: The oil used for pan-frying plays a role in cooking the chicken and infusing it with a subtle richness
To make Rice and Casserole:
- Rice: Basmati rice, or any long-grain rice, contributes a delicate and slightly nutty flavor while providing a fluffy texture
- Cream of Mushroom (or Cream of Chicken): Cream of mushroom soup, or the alternative cream soups, lend a creamy and earthy undertone to the casserole
- Veggies (Onion, Garlic, Bell Pepper, Broccoli): These vegetables offer various flavors - onions add sweetness, and garlic provides a subtle pungency. while bell peppers introduce a fresh and mildly sweet aspect. And broccoli contributes earthiness and a tender crunch
- Butter: It enriches the rice with a creamy, buttery flavor, creating a luscious base for the casserole
- Chicken Broth: Enhances the savory aspect of the dish, infusing it with a deep, poultry flavor and moisture
- Cheddar Cheese: Adds a rich, savory, and slightly tangy note, while also providing a gooey and golden topping to the casserole
- Parsley Leaves: Fresh parsley leaves serve as a finishing touch, imparting a bright and herbaceous garnish to the casserole
How to Make Chicken and Rice Casserole from Scratch?
Dive into the cozy world of home cooking with our Chicken and Rice Casserole—a dish that is prepared from scratch promises comfort in every bite. Follow along with our photos and step-by-step video to marinate the chicken, master the perfect rice, and bake your way to a heartwarming meal.
More Heartwarming Casserole Favorites:
Chicken and Rice Casserole
To Marinate and Fry Chicken
- 4 piece Chicken Breast, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
- ½ tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Oil
To Prep Rice
- 1½ cup Basmati Rice, or other long-grain rice
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1½ cup Broccoli, floret separated and washed
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2½ cups Cream of Mushroom Soup, or cream of chicken
- ¼ cup Chicken Broth, or milk to adjust the consistency
- ½ tsp Black Pepper Powder, to season the rice chicken mix
- ¼ tsp Italian Seasoning (optional), to season the rice chicken mix
- Cheddar Cheese, to top the rice chicken mix
- Parsley Leaves, to garnish
Marinating and Frying the Chicken
- Begin by marinating the thinly sliced boneless chicken breast. Add the chicken with seasoning powders such as garlic, onion, black pepper powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, and salt. Ensure both sides of the chicken are evenly coated. If you prefer, boneless chicken thighs can be used for a similar outcome
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add enough oil for pan-frying. Place the seasoned chicken breast in the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side until they're cooked through
- After pan-frying, remove the chicken breast from the oil and slice them. If you prefer, you can also shred the chicken for later use
Preparing the Rice
- In the same pan with the remaining oil, add butter, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté until they become soft and aromatic
- Add broccoli to the pan and sauté until it becomes tender. Once tender, add black pepper powder, salt, and paprika. Mix everything well. The paprika will add a mild heat and a light red hue to the rice
- Add the rinsed basmati rice or your choice of rice to the pan and mix it thoroughly
- Pour 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of water into the rice and vegetable mixture. Stir gently. Let it cook until it starts bubbling in the center. (For further clarification, you can refer to the video)
- Once the center bubbles, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and let the rice cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed
- Open the lid and fluff the rice gently. Your rice is now ready for making the casserole
Assembling and Baking
- In a bowl, combine the cooked rice, cream of mushroom, sliced chicken breast, black pepper powder, Italian seasoning. If the mixture seems too dry, adjust the consistency by adding a bit of chicken broth or milk. You can also use a combination of cream of chicken with cream of mushroom
- Transfer the chicken and rice mixture to a baking dish, spreading it evenly
- Top the mixture with sharp or mild cheddar cheese and garnish with fresh parsley leaves
- Bake the Chicken and Rice Casserole in a preheated oven at 350℉ for about 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese turns golden and bubbly
- Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving
Chef's Notes and Tips
- Choice of Rice: You can use various types of rice – white, basmati, or brown rice. Ensure the rice is fully cooked before incorporating it into the casserole.
- Prep Ahead: To simplify the process, use pre-cooked chicken, either leftover roasted chicken, baked chicken breast, or rotisserie chicken. You can shred or slice the chicken according to your preference.
Flavor and Texture:
- Creamy Base: For a rich and creamy texture, use cream of mushroom soup or a combination of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken. You can also use cream of celery if you prefer an extra flavor.
- Sautéed Vegetables: Sautéing the onions, garlic, and veggies before adding them to the casserole provides an extra layer of flavor. Ensure they are soft and aromatic.
- Cheese Varieties: Don't limit yourself to cheddar cheese. Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or Parmesan can also be used or combined for a unique flavor.
- Vegetable Variations: Feel free to experiment with different vegetables. Broccoli, peas, carrots, or bell peppers work well, but you can customize the mix to your taste.
Seasoning and Consistency Adjustments:
- Seasonings: Enhance the flavor with seasonings such as black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili flakes, salt, and optional Italian seasoning. Adjust these seasonings to your taste.
- Consistency: If the mixture seems dry, you can add some milk to achieve the desired consistency.
- Cheese Topping: Top the mixture with a generous amount of cheddar cheese for that classic casserole appeal. This will create a delightful golden and bubbly finish.
- Baking Time and Temperature: Bake the casserole in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on it to ensure the cheese turns golden and bubbly without overcooking. However, it will differ for the all-in-one pan method.
- Garnish: Finish by garnishing the casserole with fresh parsley leaves, which not only adds visual appeal but also a touch of freshness.
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Chicken and Rice Casserole with Leftovers
If you're in search of a simpler approach to crafting this casserole, we've got you covered. Below, we've outlined how to create an effortless version using pre-cooked rice and leftover roasted chicken, baked chicken breast, or rotisserie chicken. This recipe works well with various types of leftover cooked rice, whether it's white, basmati, jasmine, or brown rice.
- Saute veggies: In a pan, quickly sauté the onions, garlic, and vegetables, setting them aside for later use
- Combine rice, chicken, and veggies: In a mixing bowl, combine the pre-cooked rice, leftover chicken (either shredded or sliced to your preference), and the sautéed veggies
- Season: To this bowl, add cream of mushroom soup or a combination of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken. Incorporate black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili flakes, salt, and optional Italian seasoning. Thoroughly mix everything. If the mixture appears dry, you can adjust the consistency by adding a splash of milk
- Add toppings: Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and generously top it with cheddar cheese, garnishing it with parsley leaves
- Bake: Bake the mixture in a preheated oven set at 350°F for around 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese turns bubbly and golden
- Remove: Remove it from the oven and savor your creation, pairing it with your favorite side dishes
All-in-One Pan Method
To simplify the process, you can streamline everything into one pan. Here's how it works:
- Season Chicken: Start by seasoning the chicken breast and set it aside.
- Prepare the Baking Dish: In your baking dish, combine the rice, veggies, onions, garlic, bell pepper, and seasoning powders like paprika, black pepper, and salt.
- Add Liquids: Pour in the chicken broth, water, and cream of soup, mixing everything well.
- Arrange the Chicken: Place the seasoned chicken breast on top of the rice mixture.
- Cover and Bake: Seal the baking dish with foil and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked.
- Add Cheese and Parsley: In the last few minutes of baking, remove the foil, sprinkle cheddar cheese and fresh parsley on top.
- Final Bake for Cheese: Continue cooking until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
This method consolidates your cooking to one pan, making for an easy and delicious Chicken and Rice Casserole.
This Chicken and Rice Casserole can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2-3 days, maintaining its freshness. When you're ready to savor it, simply reheat it in the microwave until it's evenly warmed through.
Pairing your Chicken and Rice Casserole with the right sides can elevate your meal. Here are some delectable options to consider:
- Salad: A fresh, crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing provides a refreshing contrast to the creamy casserole. While a fruit salad with a mix of fresh, seasonal fruits can provide a sweet and tangy complement. Also, a creamy coleslaw can provide a cool and tangy contrast
- Steamed Vegetables: Tender, steamed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or asparagus offer a healthy and colorful side dish
- Garlic Bread: A warm, crusty garlic bread is perfect for sopping up the creamy sauce from the casserole
- Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes add depth of flavor and texture
- Corn on the Cob: Enjoy some corn on the cob for a touch of sweetness and crunch
- Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes can create a comforting and filling combination with the casserole
- Side of Gravy: If you prefer more moisture, consider a side of gravy to drizzle over the casserole and other sides
- Biscuits: Warm, flaky biscuits make a delightful accompaniment, perfect for scooping up the casserole
- Soup: A light soup, such as a vegetable or tomato soup, complements the casserole by providing a warm and comforting starter
No, it's not necessary. You can opt to pre-cook them separately or bake everything together in the casserole to save time.
Yes, boneless chicken thighs are a great substitute for chicken breast in this recipe, offering a richer flavor profile and tender texture.
Yes, it's best to cover the casserole with foil during baking to prevent the top from burning and to cook everything evenly.